People With Depression and Anxiety Could Benefit From Hallucinogens

People With Depression and Anxiety Could Benefit From Hallucinogens

A growing body of evidence, which includes recently released research, suggests that there might be quite a few benefits of hallucinogens for mental health disorders including depression and anxiety. In fact, according to Science Daily, research that was recently presented by the American Psychological Association (APA) points to how psychedelic drugs could one day actually be used to treat disorders including social anxiety and depression.

Since the effects of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), also known as acid, were first discovered in the 1940s and it became widely used and known as the drug of choice of hippies, it was also closely studied by scientists for its potential healing effects. However, research was stalled in the 1960s when psychedelics were made illegal. Now, the study of drugs largely thought of as recreational is making a comeback, with scientists conducting clinical trials with MDMA, more commonly referred to as ecstasy, to gain approval for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“Combined with psychotherapy, some psychedelic drugs like MDMA, psilocybin and ayahuasca may improve symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Cristina L. Magalhaes, PhD, in the release. “More research and discussion are needed to understand the possible benefits of these drugs, and psychologists can help navigate the clinical, ethical and cultural issues related to their use.”

Findings from one study on the effects of MDMA on autistic adults were were presented at the APA symposium and suggest that social anxiety in autistic adults could be treated through a combination of MDMA and psychotherapy. Researchers conducted a study on twelve autistic adults who experience moderate to severe social anxiety, with two different treatments of pure MDMA in conjunction with therapy resulted in significant and “long-lasting reductions in their symptoms,” according to the APA.